Took a long time to figure out what tattoo I wanted. Had this done in my living room over a week-end taking about 20 hours all together. Lindsay my artist was great to work with and is right here in good ol' Michigan. Buck M.
See more USMC tattoos and submit yours!
In This Issue
Here we go: it's a tiger, crud, busy weekend, gonads, I passed without incident, Stalag 17, for a different reason, with a '03 Springfield, DI'S are almost human, Operation BlueBat.
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Welcome to the Suck.
Eat the Apple F--k the Corps.
Big green Weenie
You just gotta love the Corps!
We're Comin' In
I went through ITR in 1968 and was stationed at Stone Bay. We would sometimes eat at the Camp Geiger mess hall. My only comment about it is: "Bear didn't Shift in the woods, he did it in Camp Geiger mess hall. The best chow was on the USS Paul Revere in 1969 when us short timers were transferred to 1/9 and shipped to Okie. They served 2 meals a day continually from 0500 to 2200, the line wrapped around the entire ship.
I was with Kilo 3/9 in 1969. They had just made me squad leader of 2nd squad. I relied on Larry a 2nd tour Marine that was busted down to Pvt. Stateside. On one of those 800 something "hills" in I Corps 3rd plt. Was sent to form a perimeter around a recon unit reporting movement. The first night the LP reports movement, it's a tiger. The LP informs the CP as to the sitrep. The CP tells the LP to stay put.
LP's response "Fudge You, we're comin' in!" They did. We lined up along the draw the tiger was moving in and opened up with all we had. The result: no tiger, but my right hand man Larry got a small piece of shrapnel lodged under his scalp high in forehead. Friendly fire a couple of days out of the bush for Larry.
Adam "Wally" Mackow Kilo 3/9 1968-69, Charlie 1/9 1969
Looks like we got another wannabe. For a couple of reasons.
#1 Anybody that writes a letter to whomever and doesn't sign it with their name hasn't got a ball in his pocket. Can't back it up; won't back it up. Just has a mouth (or a keyboard) and no facts.
#2 While I was in boot camp (1963, MCRDSD) I listened up to my Drill Instructors and p'toon Commander but at the same time I watched and listened to others on the adjacent 'toon street or in front of us (3rd Bat, Quonset hut days) and on the grinder, on the range or wherever. Any half brained recruit will keep his mouth shut, eyes and ears open.
I fit into the half brained group, I'm sure. Point being is I never ever saw a Drill Instructor that didn't know his s--t.
If Mr. Anon's DI was what he said he was he wouldn't have got out of DI school. Simple.
49 years later I can still do the manual of arms; it's with a '03 Springfield instead of an M-14 and I don't practice
Every day but it never leaves you.
End line, I don't believe that DI ever existed except in somebody's imagination.
Plt. 317 Cpl (once) 1963-1967 RVN '65'-'66
German Prison Camp
Sgt. Grit; While on Recruiting Duty in Detroit in 1953, I was sent, along with two of my fellow Recruiters, to Photograph George Tobias, who was starring in "Stalag 17" Stage Production. George Tobias and his Producer were really great and let us do our thing on their stage. A Detroit Newspaper headlined; "Marine Rescue George Tobias from German Prison Camp" came out the next day.
The first picture shows George Tobias in between to World War II and Korea Veterans, the one on George's right I remember was MSgt. 'Frenchy' Cariveau, the other one regretfully I don't remember his name.
The second picture I stepped into the frame and Frenchy took the picture, my right arm hangs loosely covering my pocket which was stuffed with flash bulbs.
The last picture was a gag picture enjoyed by all.
Sometimes Recruiting Duty allowed a Marine to enjoy hob nobbing with the Famous, this was one of those times.
In case you don't remember him, he was in the 1943 film "Guadalcanal Diary" with Anthony Quinn, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix and the first film for Richard Jaeckel.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Several years ago a group out of a Marine Corps League took a nostalgic return to PI. We were housed in 2nd. Bn. barracks as it was a close walk to some of the new stuff like McDonalds, what has happened to our Corps?
Well to make a short story long, we were in the barracks (all 30 of us) just then a platoon of recruits were outside with the DI's giving them what's for and told them to enter the barracks and go through the head to the last squad bay. Well as the recruits were paying attention, they came in to our squad bay instead.
Now our average age was mid 50's so we were eyeballed. Here came the DI'S the senior was giving the recruits a large piece of his mind for not following instructions. He was right in front of me, turned to me a with an angry and gruff voice asked "who the h-ll are you people"? I simply informed him that we had been "set back!"
At that instant this fit, hard Corps Parris Island Drill Instructor turned to mush with tears running down his face. He pushed past me, went to the window and told the Jr's to get the recruits out and he needed a few minutes. Everyone who heard what I said restrained their laughter, when all was clear we let it go.
The DI'S thanked me for the best laugh he had in some time. This proves DI'S are almost human. By the way we were treated like Royalty.
Tom Mintz, SSgt Disability Ret
I'm sorry I waited this long. I didn't see any articles about chow in the last posting. In 1973, I was lucky enough to be stationed at Shu LinKuo Air Station, Taiwan. The chow hall (they called it "Mess Hall"} won whatever the Air Force called their top award every other year because they couldn't win it every year. Surf and turf at least once a week and, at least, three entrees every night, including mid-rats.
The Marines used to wait between the chow hall and the post office just to make those lousy AF officers salute us., They would go a block out of their way to avoid a military salute. Since I have already produced all my likely progeny, I would give one of my gonads to be there again.
George M. Button
I was at El Toro in Oct. 62 with VMGR-352, I was off base the weekend everything started. I came back Sunday afternoon and everyone was saying what a busy weekend it had been. They said the 1st Div. flew out on USAF planes, they talked to some of the pilots and one said he was on his way to Turkey when they diverted him to El Toro. All the non-active runways were used to park planes.
I was on the schedule for Japan that Monday, while everyone was waiting to hear Pres. Kennedy's speech while I was getting ready to go, the mess hall said all they could give us for box lunches was some stale bread and meat sandwiches because they have made lunches for all the troops leaving on the weekend. All the choppers were gone from Santa Ana headed for the west coast.
After trip to Japan, Nov 24th loaded the 130 with 81 mortar WP shells and flew to McDill AFB to RON. Because we were loaded with munitions they parked us far, far away. On the way we passed a lot of fighters with signs hanging on them "HOT GUNS". There were so many people at McDill they loaded us on a bus and took us to a hotel in Tampa. The east coast was really loaded for bear. We ended up delivering the mortar shells to Viegues.
E.L. Collins, Cpl.
Vet Caps and Morons
A few days ago my best friend from high school sent me a 'Viet Nam Veteran' cap. I never had one of these before, and I was pretty hyped about it, especially because my friend was considerate enough to take the time to give it to me.
Yesterday, I wore it when I went to Wal-Mart. There was nothing in particular that I needed at the world's largest retailer; but, since I retired, trips to Wally World to look at the Walmartians is always good for some comic relief. Besides, I always feel pretty normal after seeing some of the people that frequent the establishment. But, I digress...enough of my psychological fixations.
While standing in line to check out, the guy in front of me, probably in his early thirties, asked, "Are you a Viet Nam Vet?" "No," I replied.
"Then why are you wearing that cap?" "Because I couldn't find the one from the War of 1812." I thought it was a snappy retort.
"The War of 1812, huh?" the Walmartian queried, "When was that?" God forgive me, but I couldn't pass up such an opportunity. "1936," I answered as straight-faced as possible. He pondered my response for a moment and responded, "Why do they call it the War of 1812 if it was in 1936?"
"It was a Black Op. No one is supposed to know about it." This was beginning to be way fun!
"Dude! Really?" he exclaimed. "How did you get to do something that COOOOL?"
I glanced furtively around me for effect, leaned toward the guy and in a low voice said, "I'm not sure. I was the only Caucasian on the mission."
"Dude," he was really getting excited about what he was hearing, "that is seriously awesome! But, didn't you kind of stand out?"
"Not really. The other guys were wearing white camouflage."
The moron nodded knowingly. "Listen man," I said in a very serious tone, "You can't tell anyone about this. It's still 'top secret' and I shouldn't have said anything." "Oh yeah?" he gave me the 'don't threaten me look.' "Like, what's gonna happen if I do?"
With a really hard look I said, "You have a family don't you? We wouldn't want anything to happen to them, would we?"
The guy gulped, left his basket where it was and fled through the door. By this time the lady behind me was about to have a heart attack she was laughing so hard. I just grinned at her.
After checking out and going to the parking lot I saw Dimwit leaning in a car window talking to a young woman. Upon catching sight of me he started pointing excitedly in my direction. Giving him another 'deadly' serious look, I made the 'I see you' gesture. He turned kind of pale, jumped in the car and sped out of the parking lot.
What a great time! Tomorrow I'm going back with a Homeland Security cap. Whoever said retirement is boring, just needs the right kind of cap!
See Marine Corps Caps
You were asking for boot camp memories a while back. My submittal is about the lack of boot camp memories.
I thought that I remembered my entire boot camp experience, but as I was reading through some of my letters that I sent home (my parents saved them all for posterity) I realized that I had forgotten quite a bit. In one of my early letters, I mention how I can't believe that I've made it through my first week of boot camp already, and how it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Then in my next letter, I'm expressing shock, because we have just been "picked-up" by our DI's, and boot camp starts NOW! I can't believe that I thought that our first week in staging was boot camp!
I honestly don't remember that first week in "staging", it was all kind of a blur.
Ron Morse (Sgt USMC class of 69)
No Boot Camp
In your last newsletter there was a short story about No Boot Camp. A few years back I had the honor of meeting Pvt. Hector A. Cafferata Jr., Medal of Honor, Korea. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1948, Dover, NJ and was sent to Korea 1950. He never attended Boot Camp, as it was not required for reservist back in those day. During my time at PI, 1957, we were told you're not a Marine until you completed Boot Camp. During my conversion with Pvt Cafferata he stated, try telling me I'm not a Marine, because I never attend Boot Camp. You can read his full story in Wikipdia.com.
Cpl of Marines, 1608957
MSG, US Army (Retired)
Have to give a "roger" to Sgt. Joe Henderson's summation on how Marines motivate each other. During "run ups" and MCCRES before my 2nd wes-pac in '85.We had a "crud",(called him much worse). Couple of GI showers and even a t--d in his gas mask didn't do the trick. Guess he was a HARDCORE crud.
An airdrop from the topside barracks on K street did it though. He was inside a wall locker with firecrackers and I think a 'grape ape' going off when he went "Splash Out". Never saw him again. End of Mission.
Cpl. "D.T." Jones
Are all the "OLD" Marines dead or is it that they just don't write in to your site? I was in Plt. 106/112 at P.I. in the Summer of 1948. At that time you HAD to know how to swim. We also had what were called tie-ties that were used to tie our just washed clothes to the clothes lines (no clothes pins).
Your comment re Field Scarfs also brings back memories; they were made of the same material as the khaki shirts, but later were of a woven material. Cosmoline was the punishment for not keeping your weapon clean. Field Days in the Barracks using bricks to scrub the floors instead of brushes. Smokers! I'd do it all over again. Still proud to be a Marine.
Not Been Issued Live Ammo
I was hustling back from a VA appointment in Madison, WI to my job in Chicago today, when I passed a long Army convoy on I-90. They had the windows down and looked bored, so I took pity and entertained the whole convoy with several renditions of "The Marines' Hymn" from my Sgt. Grit car horn. Apparently they had not been issued live ammo, because I passed without incident. A couple of Marine cars I passed appreciated it far more.
In April, I was at the Museum at Quantico, as the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation presented me with the 2012 Robert A. Gannon award for my book, "Old Jarhead Poems." (All royalties go to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund). It was a great night. At my table was Col. Barney Barnum, USMC Ret, who wears the Medal of Honor from Vietnam. (He didn't seem too impressed with my Good Conduct Medal.) Also Norm Hatch, who won an Academy Award in 1944 for the documentary he filmed as a Marine cameraman on Tarawa.
Tim Day, a Marine Vet who has done rather well in business, announced a $12M gift to the museum, on top of the $5M he gave in the past. The CMC spoke. He said that Marines really are different. As he travels around the country, he sometimes walks into a businessman's office, who served maybe two years, say 68-70, in the USMC, and with the photos and USMC items on the wall, it's like walking into the Commandant's office!
Marine Corps Tattoos
USMC Tattoos submitted by James F. Ingram
See more USMC tattoos and submit yours!
Just wanted to say thanks to Mr. Bender for the fascinating history lesson about John Mackie and the MOH. Great stuff and Semper Fi,
J.A. Howerton II
SSgt USMC (Ret)
This is to wish Marine Robert Gaston a very happy and healthy 91st birthday this June of 2012!
Happy Birthday and Semper Fidelis Marine!
Were any of you Vietnam vets stationed at Camp Horn around Christmas, 1968? We had a tragic incident when a Hispanic Sgt. in the IIIMAF security guard was relieved at the front gate. He "cleared" his .45 and then held the pistol to his head and pulled the trigger! Accident or suicide? Does anyone know his name and home town?
My brother was at Khe Sanh and received the Silver Star for his participation in this siege and I'm proud to say I was his replacement...
LCPL Danial A. Staggs ( Lucky ) LCPL M.L. Staggs 2/3 HQ Co
From Facebook - More Chesty
Join us at the Sgt Grit Facebook Page for more pics and fun
You get a lot of email concerning Marine posers. However, what I find more amusing is Hollywood's depiction of Marines, which can be somewhat accurate, but often isn't. A prime example is the following two pictures:
That's My Boy Picture 1
That's My Boy Picture 2
It would be a good contest to name all the things wrong with this uniform, whether you're a Marine or were in the Army. Maybe they are purposefully combining Army and Marine uniforms for some misguided comic reason? Anyway, he has the blood- striped dress blue pants of a Marine NCO (even though he's not supposed to be an NCO). He has what appear to be Army chevrons, an Army nametag, and an Army Combat Infantryman Badge (I'm not an expert - not having been a doggie, but isn't this even in the wrong place?) but with a Marine tattoo. Someone with more expertise can analyze the ribbons. He also....well, you get the idea.
Looks like someone with absolutely no connection to either the Army or Marine Corps just rambled through a surplus store drunk and picked out whatever he thought looked good.
David Johnson, former CPL, USMCR
Old Memories - DMZ - RVN - 11th Engineers At Work...Plus 200 Purple Hearts earned - Fifty Marines KIA
Reading Elizabeth Juneau's letter in the Jun 7 newsletter brought back some bitter sweet memories. Back on Feb 11 of this year I lost my wife of 38 years. This woman stuck by me through thick and thin and deserved a MOH for what she put up with. But what brought back the memories is how Elizabeth and her Marine husband met.
I also met my wife on a blind date to a Marine Corps Birthday Ball. It was Nov 10 1973 in Charleston, SC. Lonely Cpl with tickets and no one go with, well a well-meaning friend call me and asked if I would take the cousin of his date to the Ball. I of course agreed and as they say the rest is history. Met Nov 10, 73, Married Jan 22, 74 and had 38 wonderful years. Two Children and six grandkids. Can't think of a better time
Cpl John R. Caylor,
Marine Barracks, Naval Weapons Station, Goose Creek, SC
Note: Wow... 2 1/2 month engagement. Marines work fast.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #1, #6, (JUN. 2011)
HMR-161 and the helicopters from VMO-6 continued to provide support to the 1st Marine Division in 1953 and until the armistice was signed on 17 July 1953. Helicopter
Pilots and Air-crewmen suffered a total of nine (9) mishaps in Korea proving that their machines were not overly vulnerable. The statistics involving these two Squadrons
(HMR-161 & VMO-6) are staggering especially during the infancy of Marine Helicopter Operations. As a newcomer, the helicopter proved to be a valuable tactical weapon in Korea. lt met and exceeded all the expectations the pioneers of vertical envelopment had for it. The work that had been done by HMR-161 in Korea was impressive. As the first Helicopter Transport Squadron in combat it had flown over 30,000 hours and completed more than 32,000 flights under combat and adverse weather conditions. The concept developed at Quantico, VA, in the late 40's by HMX-1 met and stood the test of war and had proven itself in Korea. The technique of hit and run had proven most effective when used in major troop movements and not when used in small lifts. Amphibious operations of the future would owe much of their success to the Pilots and men of VMC-6 and HMR-161.
Early in March 1955, the 1st Marine Division returned to Camp Pendleton as did most of its supporting units. HMR-161 was deployed to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii with its new Aircraft the HRS-3. (now, here the R stands for Transport). lt was basically the same aircraft except it had a more powerful Engine. An increase of about 100 HP allowed the HRS-3 to lift approx. 250 Lbs. More than it's predecessors or, the equivalent of one more combat Marine on each flight. Some of the squadron personnel arrived less Helicopters at Kaneohe Bay near the end of March and the balance of the unit arrived about 10 days later with the remainder of the gear and the Aircraft. They arrived in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS WASP and were flown to Kaneohe on the other side of the island. HMR-161 now became part of MAG-13 and the 1st MARINE Brigade. VMO-6 went to Camp Pendleton and operated from there in support of the 1st MARINE Division
While all this was going on, around the country other HRS-3 squadrons had already been commissioned and were in an operational training mode. Prior to this the MARINE Corps lacked enough money and expertise which consequently resulted in repeated delays in the creation of these squadrons. But, it was very evident that the lessons learned in Korea would be a large portion of the Marine Corps future. The Check's in the mail !
On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle. One day the tower received a call from an aircraft asking, "What time is it?"
The tower responded, "Who is calling?"
The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?"
The tower replied, "It makes a lot of difference... If it is a commercial flight, it is 3 o'clock. If it is an Army aircraft, it is 1500 hours. If it is a Navy aircraft, it is 6 bells. If it is an Air Force aircraft, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3. If it is a Marine Corps aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon and 120 minutes to "Happy Hour."
During training exercises, the lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another car stuck in the mud with a red-faced colonel at the wheel "Your jeep stuck, sir?" asked the lieutenant as he pulled alongside. "Nope," replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. "Yours is."
We Were "Operation BlueBat" Heroes ????
I was getting pretty "salty" after spending a whole 10 months in the Marine Corps in 57 & 58 and assigned to my 5th duty base in 10 months. Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, NATTC Jacksonville FL, Keesler AFB and now Cherry Point. Arriving at my first permanent duty base of course what happens to most low rank newbie's... assigned to 30 days Mess Duty. I wasn't on Mess Duty but 2 weeks and was ordered to report back to my Squadron.
Orders had come down that we were to pack up and leave with all our equipment in MASS-1 Squadron, which was at least a 25 vehicle convoy, and move to Norfolk Naval Base within 24 hours. There we boarded the aircraft carrier Antietam CVS-36. Cherry Point was already heavily involved in flying 2nd Division grunts from Camp Lejeune to Lebanon. Things were as tense as the Cuban Missile Crisis which would come 5 years later.
Now the military being the military, and remember; no internet, no cell phones, TV news minimal; we had heard about President Eisenhower's orders and a bit of what was going on, but not really much. Just that we might be in a volatile situation which could lead to an armed conflict. As it turned out, within a month things cooled down and all we did was float around the West Atlantic and rendezvous with what appeared to be the entire 6th fleet somewhere around Roosevelt Roads or Vieques.
Since things were cooling down, but we couldn't return to the States just quite yet, just in case, the Marine Corps decided to give us a few hours beach liberty. You know those movies we used to see of WWII & Korea where the Marines scrambled down nets over the side of AKA's and other troop ships? Try doing it with nets from the height of a hangar deck of an aircraft carrier into LCVP's. True, we were "airdales" and we're not packing equipment & weapons, but it was weird. The few hours on shore, just swimming and plain lying around after being cooped up for a few weeks was great.
Now here's the funny part. We get back to Cherry Point and of course there's letters from home, from families and loved ones asking about "us" hero Marines that were pictured in every newspaper in the world, landing on the Lebanon Beaches, and were we part of it? Later on, we met some of those Grunts when they returned and told us that the photographers should have swung the cameras around and seen what the Marines saw. Vendors and bikini clad bathers of all kind.
True, at the time, it was a serious situation, but the efforts of the Armed Services did stop a serious possibility of an all- out conflict. This was more than 50 years ago and look what's going on in that same area today.
Look on the internet for more information about Operation Blue Bat and also read the official Marine Corps PDF attached.
Take care and Semper Fi to all Marines from the past to the present.
Pete Kristall (USMC 57-63)
I-3-1 Korean War Reunion
I-3-1 Korean War Reunion Item Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine division
All Veterans (and families) of Korean War invited to participate August 22-26, 2012
Contact Suzie Woodward for Information regarding 860.262.1334
See More Reunions
Iwo Purple Heart
Marine Jim Keller, who recently was granted his purple heart for wounds incurred while serving on Iwo Jima in 1945, was honored by law enforcement agencies in Pinal County. The gathering was held at Fred A. Humphrey's American Legion Post 8, Casa Grande, on Wednesday, June 13.
In December of 1944, Jim was one of many Marines serving with the 4th Marine Division who boarded ship for an unknown destination. While at sea the Marines were told they were headed for Iwo Jima. The Marines did not know where Iwo Jima was but soon found out.
In February 1945, Iwo Jima became the most populated area on the planet where one of the bloodiest and fiercest battles ensued testing American resolve symbolizing a free society's willingness to make the sacrifice necessary to prevail over evil... a sacrifice as relevant today.
Jim landed with the first wave of replacements of the 4th Marine Division 23rd Regiment on the north end of the island below airfield number 2. Eventually, the Marines received word that Japan was surrendering. But Jim wasn't in the clear. In April of 1945, Jim's parents received a letter that on March 12 Jim was wounded in action. Today, along with disabilities incurred as a result of his service, he carries shrapnel in his right leg. In the Spring of this year, he was awarded HIS PURPLE HEART!
Jim says he was one of the lucky ones - he came home. So many died. Jim also tells me that the Japanese were told that our troops could never take their island and that the Japanese had every inch covered with heavy fire. The Japanese did but what the Japanese didn't know and weren't told was that Americans were tougher and more determined to take the island. And our military did!
This nation is blessed by those who step forward when duty calls. We give thanks to Americans who strengthen our Nation with their example of service and sacrifice. Our military is drawn from many generations and from many backgrounds. All contribute to the character and to the greatness of America. So many struggle with the pain from their hidden wounds...physical wounds.
Are they heroes? They are heroes. So many can count every comrade who fought and died beside them and all of them are heroes. We do well to honor America's warriors for their patriotism, love of Country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. We must never forget the selfless sacrifices of those who fight to ensure the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today. Our military is the reason for this amazing Country... they are the only reason!
At a recent visit to my local VA Hospital I picked up the June copy of the VFW magazine. I was surprised to see an article about my outfit, 3rd Bn/ 26th Marine, and the battle for Con Thien in Sept. 67. I learned from the article about the passing of Rick Eilert who was in our platoon.
I was on the patrol when Rick was gravely wounded in Nov. 67. After years of rehab. Rick recovered and wrote the excellent book, "For Self and Country." Rick was heavily involved in veteran's affairs and was on his home state of Ill. committee concerning the building of the Wall. I'm sure Rick now sets at the heroes table in Valhalla waiting for the rest of us to arrive for Duty.
Gary Neely; Sgt. USM, 1966 to 1972
June 15 2012 issue newsletter
Tom Wilson asked about 5231
This is what I found. Maybe he has transposed digits or even some incorrect ones
Occupational Fields (OccFlds) are identified in the first two digits and represent a grouping of related MOSs. Job codes are identified in the last two digits and represent a specific job within that OccFld. An MOS can be awarded as a Primary MOS (PMOS), an Additional MOS (AMOS), a Skill Designator, or Category II MOS (which denote special skills assignments or simply to account for structure when required).
4100 morale and welfare
4100 Basic Exchange Marine - SSGT-SGT
4133 Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) Specialist - MGYSGT-SGT
8231 education assistant)
8921 athletic and recreation assistant) Vietnam era
Even back to the Korean war era could not find a 5200 designation.
So I suggest he write in for a copy of his DD214. The code is almost always on it, and what it is.
I got two DD214s one of my original enlistment ended, and one at end of 2nd enlistment. The codes and title are on both.
Sgt Marines (NLA)
68-74 and RVN 70-71
PS here are two photos from our trip to DC for memorial Day and the rolling Thunder. These were near Osceola, Iowa on US 34.
As we traveled across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, I lost count of the number of flagpoles that had USMC flags. In the old days of film. I could not of carried enough rolls of film to document the number of American flags being flown in town by businesses, residential areas and house out in the middle of nowhere (farms etc.).
We saw duplications Rosenthal's famous WW II Marine Corps picture all along the way. Nearby various War memorials in the small towns we stopped at or traveled through, and as posters near the many Cemeteries we passed by.
The Chaplain's Morning Strike!
A lot of recent discussion on cooks, chow halls, chow and chow of course brought chow to mind, but that's a different discussion.
My 1st reaction to hearing the word cook wasn't food, but our Chaplain in Courthouse Bay/Camp Lejeune in 1962. How might you ask does the word cook trigger the word Chaplain?
In 1962, I was with H&S Company 2nd Amtracs, which was a hop & a skip from the church on the same street. I think he was newly assigned to this post, and perhaps even was his first duty station. I don't know how Chaplain's sign up, or how long of a tour they serve. But I do know that whatever it is, our Chaplain wasn't worn down yet. Quite the opposite. He was a bundle on enthusiastic energy, with all the aura of a new guy.
I don't recall his denomination, Baptist I think. Be that as it may, except for one guy, no one's name jumps out in our platoon of Remington Raiders that were church goers. And I think that one guy favored an off base church.
Like all ministers I'm sure church attendance was a concern... and a challenge. If my platoon was any measure, he wasn't getting an inspiring turn out on Sunday mornings... which you may recall is the morning after Saturday night, often spent in such a way that a lot of sleep Sunday morning was just what the doctor ordered in most guy's book. Good enough to barely make the mess hall before it closed its doors Sunday morning.
He had to think the odds were in his favor on making some positive inroads. After all, Courthouse Bay was isolated, way out on the fringes of Lejeune. And the church was conveniently located. It's not like you had to trek for miles. And you had this fairly large captive audience that reeked of misspent youth. Anglico and an Engineering School were out there as well. What more could a Chaplain ask for?
There were souls to be saved, morals to be improved, good feeling to be spread & he was the man for the job. And he developed a plan.
I don't know if Chaplains have to clear things with the local CO's e.g. plans, but approved or not here he comes, with an early Sunday morning pre-emptive strike, allowing time to fire up the troops, and be back at church to meet & greet and deliver his sermon.
I don't know what he planned for Anglico or the Engineering School, but Amtracs had 4 companies and sets of barracks to visit. All neatly and conveniently lined up. You could just walk down the street drop by to each and every one. Given the convenient location of H&S, he swept in there first, I think about 7:30 or earlier. H&S had 2 stories. Topside had we clericals, Motor Poolers (I think), Sr NCO rooms and I don't recall what else. Bottom side had the company office, the facilities people (I think) ....and the Cooks in their own wing.
Then the fun began. I don't know if he visited anyone before us, but there we were in typical early morning state; some sleeping, some half-awake & bleary eyed, some hung over, some awake, shaven, unshaven, unwashed, and scratching various grubby body parts when the door burst open. I think most of us had a boot camp flash back and levitated a few feet off the ground.
But instead of facing some perpetually irate DI we were greeted by this bundle of exuberant energy shouting a horribly horribly cheerful "GOOD MORNING MEN! I want to personally invite you to morning services at 10:00AM!" and on and on. "I hope to SEE YOU THERE" etc. After coming down from our levitation we grunted, mumbled or growled something bordering on civil in return. And off he dashed to his next target.
I also recall trailing in his wake and hovering nearby was a very uncomfortable Duty NCO, who I'm sure got no heads up on this, and didn't know quite how to take it, what he was supposed to do about it, if anything. After all, I can't remember ANY unannounced visits by an officer that wasn't scheduled (e.g. inspection). Nor did anyone above an E5 come in unless they had specific business. And sure as heck never on weekend mornings.
I didn't see any further action, but we all heard about it. The Duty NCO said he was moving at warp speed, which quickly took him to the cook's wing for his final H&S visit. I don't think it was a formal order... and if so it preceded my joining the Battalion, but it was understood that no one messed with the cooks. If you wanted to raise H-ll, be noisy, drunk or sober, do it away from the Cook's wing, inside or outside. First of all we had good food and it was appreciated. More important, everyone knew they didn't live in the same time zone as the rest of us. They had evening and graveyard shifts. Breakfast doesn't appear like magic 5 minutes before the doors open. These guys worked all night to prepare the kitchen and the food. And they wanted to go to sleep.
So while we walked around early morning... they slept. And politely put, didn't like to be disturbed.
So the story goes, as the Chaplain was making a beeline to the cook's wing door, the Duty NCO looked into his crystal ball and saw pending disaster. Oh sh-t, not the cooks!. The Chaplain was planning to visit the cooks! He was running behind the Chaplain trying to get his attention...Sir! Sir! Sir! That's the cook's wing! The NCO assumed that was explanation enough... that the Chaplain was in the know. But the Chaplain seemingly processed this as "Cook's need to go to church too!" and what the NCO meant was "Don't go in there! and do what you've been doing"
But Chaplains are officers and he couldn't throw a body block. Repeat our visit. Chaplain bursts through door. Renders a hearty GOOD MORNING! and I think that's as far as he got. But in a way he was in his element. This is what he went to Seminary for. Because as the Duty NCO tells the story, all H-ll broke loose. Let's say the cooks expressed their displeasure, loudly and laced it with a lot of colorful un-Chaplain-like expressions.
We call this "feedback" in the business world. Quickly the Chaplain detected something was wrong with the plan. The cooks didn't like the plan. And he finally listened to the Duty guy who explained why the cooks needed their beauty rest to the degree they didn't engage in such nonsense as reveille, morning formations, if they worked graveyard.
I don't think he plowed onward to the other companies, and we heard that he later got calibrated with some apparently missed military orientation. The incident went up the Cook's chain of command quickly, H&S CO got involved and the CO of the Battalion. I think the message simply put was ...Are you insane?! Don't do that again, when you have an idea, run it by me first!.
And I don't think any cooks dropped in for services that Sunday. After all, the Chaplain delivered Sermon in bed.
Keep Our Heads Down
Yo, Sgt. Grit!
These are just a ramble of memories from when I was in the "crotch" from June '64 til Jan '68 (early out for college). Ah, the good ole days! Back then the "Old Corps" were the guys from War II & Korea, many still had the old herringbone utilities (no BDU's or whatever they're called today) and the green wool shirts worn under the utility jacket when it was cold.
Never heard of Oohrah, no such thing as EGA (don't care for the term) it was the Marine Corps Emblem. Issued brown shoes, brown 'roughside out" boots, brown bills on the barracks cover and brown buttons on the 'greens' in boot camp. We used Brillo pads then black shoe dye on the barracks covers, boots and shoes, black paint on the buttons. Were issued a name stencil (first two initials and last name to paint above the right pocket of the utility jacket and a stencil to paint USMC and the emblem on the left pocket.
Learned about ladders and bulkheads, etc... Remember pogey bait, sh-tbirds, azzholes to elbows in the messhall lines, "pick it up girls" & "let's go herd" from our DI's (among other endearments), having to wear my glasses, utility cover & cartridge belt backwards after screwing up during close order drill.
We started out in tennis shoes, utility trousers, the ubiquitous yellow sweatshirt & unstarched utility cover. remember the pride on then wearing the full utility uniform (still unstarched, trousers unbloused and having the top button of our utility jacket buttoned, then starching our utilities including the cover, unbuttoning the top button, and blousing our trousers (starting to feel like Marines!) We were issued Greens, Tropicals, and Khakis, and had polished the 'roughside out boots by rubbing then smooth with a coke bottle.
Had the M14 at MCRD San Diego and M1's at ITR. On reporting to C 1/4 at MCAS Kaneohe Bay was assigned to Rockets Section of Weapons Platoon ... had the 3.5 Rocket Launchers (never bazookas!). Went to Chu Lai in May '65, about 3 or 4 months later we turned in the rocket Launchers for the new LAWS, then a short time later became a rifle squad. the M79 "blooper" came into being. We were issued flak jackets after being there for a while, the had to turn in our boots for the new green jungle boot with a steel plate in the sole, soft sides with eyelets so the water would run out, we hated those! At some point in time we were allowed to wear short sleeve shirts with our Tropical uniforms.
On returning to "the world" we were greeted by protesters to learn we were baby killers, something most folks scraped off their shoes after a trip to the barn, that serving one's country was a cause for shame. Lots of fights until we learned to "keep our heads down" for a different reason. A lot of us went back for a second tour because we were treated better over there then at home. It was about 30 years before anyone said "Thanks for your service". The VA treated us like crap. All of that has changed now, but was hard to deal with back then.
Lots more memories, good & bad but when you get old they're harder to come by! oh, BTW: how about University of Science, Music and Culture! Payday was when the eagle sh-t! Remember dress rules for liberty? Appropriate footwear (no tennis shoes, flip flops (shower clogs), etc.), trousers with a belt & no shorts, no t-shirts unless under a regular shirt.
(Twice a Sgt., three times a Cpl.!)
If Coasting Vigorously
An evening with a computer, a glass of Merlot... and the latest Grit Newsletter... what's not to like???
Some of the stuff this old Jarhead remembers is not likely to ever make it into the official histories of the Corps... but it's the way it was, or at least the way I remember it being... recruiting posters and the cloak of 'the noble warrior' aside, warts and lymphogranuloma venereum aside, the kind of stuff that made a life of duty interesting... at least to Marines..or some of them, anyway...
Take, for example, rifles... the current generation, and the generation before that, know only that their rifles are things, that in garrison, live in the armory... and it takes a rifle card and an ID to get the thing out. In the day, one's rifle might be slung under the rail of one's bunk in the squad bay, using two blanket roll straps, and hang there, in an empty barracks on payday weekend... or, it might hang, muzzle down, from a retaining bar inside the door of one's wall locker, in front of the overcoat, or later on, the raincoat (didn't get one of those in '57 boot camp... they didn't exist yet)...
Or, each squad bay might have one or two wooden rifle racks... these were somewhat moveable, more or less triangular in end view, and accommodated two rows of rifles, maybe 20 or so in all. Each slot had a moveable locking bar that hinged over the safety on the M1 or M14, and this could be secured with an individual's own padlock. The top had a sliding device which aligned with all the top slots, and if slid to the closed position, could be locked. This lock was usually under the control of the Duty NCO, so if you wanted to get your rifle out, the Duty would have to come unlock that lock, make a log book entry, etc. In practice, the racks were left unlocked most of the time... and lots of individual rifles might not have a lock on them either... (padlocks don't prevent thievery... they just keep your friends honest... )... the thinking was 'who in the world would steal a rifle?... you'd just have to clean the d-mn thing, anyway, and one's enough!"
Then came the day, which I recall as a Friday afternoon, when the word came down from on high "all rifle racks will be moved to the armory before liberty call"... they were... and they never, ever came back to the barracks. I can place this as happening in the fall of 1968... there had been reports of weapons theft, civil unrest, yada yada... at the time, I was the XO of Hq Btry, 5th Field Artillery Group (and let us have no incorrect, non-PC constructions of labels using the unit initials... you'd hardly be original with your cleverness... 45 years later)
Things got interesting for armorers after that... some similarities to being in the brig, only with less entertainment... locked in, sometimes inside a locked building... recall one bright idea for a nearly undefeatable alarm system, which involved mounting a set of air horns from a six-by on the roof of the building, and piping compressed gas (dry nitrogen, technical grade... use mostly to prevent fogging in optics) to the horns, with a quarter-turn valve accessible only to the caged armorer... minor problem was that the gas cylinder was around 2200 PSI... and the horns were designed for around 125 PSI... usually good for one brief squeak...
Sizing a platoon... easy...
"if you are taller than the Pvt in front of you, change places"... 'Right Face" If you are taller than the Pvt in front of you, change places'... although illusory, this produces a marching unit that pretty much appears to be all one size (height)
Units, either drafts or transplacement battalions en route from Pendleton to Japan/Okinawa, made a 24 -hour stop at Pearl... liberty, maybe a unit beer bust on the beach at Waikiki, even a tour over the Nui Pali (sp?)... exotic stuff... we all knew about flower leis, having heard Webley Edwards for years on the radio "and as the sun sinks slowly in the west, we bid a fond farewell to Hawaii"... however, if you were a passenger on the USNS Hugh N. Gaffey, and wanted a lei (flowers, remember?)... you got to buy your own... $3-$4 dollars in 1959... tradition states that as you set sail from Hawaii, you throw your lei overboard. If it floats toward land, that means you will return to Hawaii... if it floats toward the ship, that means you will never return to the island... mine sunk.
Mention of a Renault 2CV in this weeks' Cuban missile stories... there was a recruit Company Commander (Captain) at MCRD SD in the early sixties who had one... we thought the model number stood for "2 horsepower... if Coasting Vigorously"... these things had a sliding canvas roof, something like a Volkswagen van version so equipped... except that this Captain had replaced the canvas with several wooden 1X4 planks... we DI's were not impressed...
BTW... read 'Colder Than H-ll'... you will find that not a few of the Marines (Reservists) at the frozen Chosin in the freezin' season... had not been to boot camp.
In the late 70's, early 80's, as the Reserve moved from being more or less independent units to a Division organization, mobilization drills became a big part of unit evaluations... members would be notified on Thursday to be at the Reserve Center on Friday evening... ready to go... and never mind where!
There was once an 'unprepared' desert landing strip just up the slope from the EAF at 29 Palms that we locals spent about four weeks 'un-preparing', including many overtime hours by the civilians from Facility Maintenance who drove graders and bigarse sprinkler wagons to unprepare. The AF parachuted in some pathfinders (the whole thing went down after dark), who set up air traffic control. The Reservists, from units in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc... had boarded C-130s on Saturday afternoon... it was great to watch... as each plane would approach, they were allowed to turn on landing lights for only seconds, then turned them off before landing (night vision was yet a piece of in the future for most... ) As the ramps came down, out came Marines in full war paint... who were generally pizzed, as they had not been issued ammo... nor told where they were going. Many thought they were maybe in Panama, or ???... and generally were not happy to be told that it was all an exercise, and that they were at 29 Palms... where they would sleep on the ground for the night, and fly back home in the morning... pretty impressive capability to watch...
"A Ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons."
--Adm. David Dixon Porter, USN in a letter to Colonel Commandant John Harris, USMC, 1863
Note: Unfortunately ship board Marine Detachments were eliminated years ago.
"[T]he fundamental tradition of the American people ... is the magnificent tradition of economic freedom, the instinct to know that without economic freedom no other freedom is significant or lasting, and that if economic freedom be attained, no other freedom can be withheld."
-- Albert Jay Nock, The Freeman [April 14, 1920]
"In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail- maker."
"If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war."
--General of the Armies Douglas McArthur in Korea, overheard and reported by Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Houghton, Weapons/2/5
"Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason."
"The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty."
"Sell not ... liberty to purchase power."
-- Benjamin Franklin
"The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand."
--Attributed to Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)
God Bless the American Dream!
"Expect the unexpected"